Recently BBC R&D announced its intention to trial the distribution of Ultra-High definition programming over both DTT and IP. BBC R&D is actively working on Ultra-High Definition (UHD) in the various standardisation bodies, with The World Cup providing an ideal opportunity to practically test out some of that work.
BBC R&D had set itself the goal of demonstrating an end-to-end live UHD broadcast over both a traditional DVB network and an adaptive bitrate delivery approach over IP. To do this the BBC has partnered with Arqiva on the DTT side and will use existing super-fast broadband infrastructure for IP delivery.
The UHD production will be received in the UK from an H.264/AVC satellite contribution feed. For both DTT and IP the BBC will use Main Profile HEVC to compress the video to distribution bitrates that can be sustained within a DVB network and a super-fast broadband line. The frame rate being used is 59.94Hz as that is the standard in Brazil.
The DTT trial will be transmitted from Crystal Palace (London), Winter Hill (Manchester) and Black Hill (Glasgow).The stream will use the latest DVB-DASH profile and is geo-IP locked to the UK only.
“Our experience so far is that dedicated hardware is required to be able to decode Ultra-High Definition HEVC encoded video,” explains the BBC in a blog post. “In conjunction with some consumer equipment vendors, we will be using some of the latest chipsets from the silicon suppliers. Part of the experiment will be to understand the performance of the newly launched HEVC encoders so the video bitrates are very much subject to change but I think we will end up at around 30-35Mbit/s.”